Pattison expands Sask. footprint

Pattison Ag assures farmers JD dealerships in Saskatchewan and Manitoba will have local decision-makers

Pattison Ag continues to expand its reach into the western Canadian farm equipment market.

The company, a subsidiary of the Jim Pattison Group in Vancouver, acquired Nykolaishen Farm Equipment earlier this year.

Nykolaishen has locations in Kamsack, Sask., and Swan River, Man.

The two dealerships will continue to operate under the Nykolaishen Farm Equipment banner, at least for the time being.

The acquisition brings the number of Pattison-owned John Deere locations in Western Canada to 19, including 17 in Saskatchewan and two in Manitoba.

“From the customer’s standpoint, nothing’s going to change,” said Pattison Ag president Art Ward when asked about the Kamsack and Swan River locations.

“The dealerships will continue to operate under the Nykolaishen Farm Equipment name, and Ron (Nykolaishen) and the family will remain actively involved in the dealership,” he added.

“Our goal is to have local decision-making and to empower our front-line people to make sound decisions for our customers. We’re not interested in being another large dealership … where our customers don’t know the decision makers.”

Pattison Ag got into the farm equipment business about three years ago.

It started by acquiring a majority interest in Maple Farm Equipment in Yorkton, Sask.

It later expanded its stake in Maple Farm Equipment and acquired other John Deere stores that were previously owned by Jay Dee Ag Tech and Shaunavon Industries.

All John Deere outlets that had previously operated under the Maple and Jay Dee banners were rebranded under the Pattison Ag name in January.

Pattison is now the largest John Deere dealership owner in Sask-atchewan.

There are more than 40 John Deere stores in Saskatchewan owned by five companies.

Other companies that own multiple John Deere dealerships in the province include the publicly traded Cervus Equipment headquartered in Calgary, South Country Equipment of Regina, Nelson Motors of Avonlea and Western Sales of Rosetown.

Ward said consolidation in the John Deere equipment business reflects similar changes in the agriculture industry as a whole.

“It’s hard to believe that a dealership (the size of Nykolaishen’s) is considered a small dealership now, but with some of the changes that have taken place in agriculture, I think the timing was right for them to join with a larger group,” he said.

“As farmers continue to get larger and the expectations and the re-quirements to properly service those larger farms grows, dealerships themselves need to be able to have the resources to properly look after those farms.”

David Cobb, managing director of corporate development with the Jim Pattison Group in Vancouver, said the decision to invest in the farm equipment sector was a natural fit for Pattison.

Demand for food will increase as the world’s population continues to grow, he said.

“We liked the long-term fundamentals of the machinery business,” Cobb said.

Consolidation in the farm equipment industry will result in larger dealerships that offer modern farms the technology and the service that they require.

“We think there are advantages to having larger, well-capitalized companies, like our own, that can invest in the dealerships, invest in the technology and invest in the infrastructure that’s really required to look after these … growing farm entities,” Cobb said.

In addition to maintaining expensive inventories, modern dealerships require larger facilities and more sophisticated equipment to service today’s farm machinery.

“As the business grows and becomes more sophisticated, there’s just more capital required to support it,” Cobb said.

Pattison Ag will continue to look at other investment opportunities in the farm equipment sector as they arise, he added.

However, in the meantime, the company will step back, assess its position and ensure that existing customers are well served.

“We’re still a relatively new player,” Cobb said.

“We’re just three years in, and we’re one of the largest ag dealerships in Canada already, so I think our plan now is to absorb what we have and … assess things.

“If there are other opportunities, we will certainly look at them, but I think we’re quite satisfied with where we are right now ….

“We’re just looking to our management teams now to run their businesses and do a good job. We always say that if we do a good job, then other opportunities will come.”

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